The NHS has launched a new fund for mothers with major mental health problems.
The £60 million Perinatal Community Services Development Fund is available to both new mothers and pregnant women. It forms part of a larger funding drive for specialist mental health services announced by the government earlier this year.
Currently only £5 million is available for use by various NHS Trusts, with the remainder of the funding due to be released in instalments over the next few years. £15 million will become available in the year to 2018, and a further £40 million in the year after that. From 2019 onwards, however, funding for perinatal mental health services will funnelled directly into the NHS rather than standing as a separate fund.
The government hopes that around 300,000 new or expectant mothers will benefit each year.
Dr Giles Berrisford is associate national clinical director for perinatal mental health at NHS England. He said:
“We absolutely need to ensure that all women have …access to high-quality perinatal mental health…. If left untreated, it can have a devastating impact on the woman affected and her family.”
NHS Trusts and commissioners have until September 16 to make their initial bids for the money.